The Anchoress – Confessions Of A Romance Novelist
Released January 15th, 2016 on Kscope Records
Has there ever been a bigger collection of cliches? People were singing the praises of this Welsh singer/multi-instrumentalist for some time after her early releases, hyping up the “experimental” nature of her music. Confessions Of A Romance Novelist is about as experimental as Florence + The Machine or The Pierces, two acts that seem to inform a lot of what is going on here. “What Goes Around” and “Doesn’t Kill You” are such obvious tropes that it’s a wonder that anyone bothered recording them in the first place; hum a few bars and everyone can get the gist of it. “What Goes Around” especially reminds me of “Secret”, the Pierces song that makes the beginning of every episode of Pretty Little Liars such a horror. Both songs take a boneheaded cliche (“What goes around comes around”, “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead”) and marry them to the sort of irritatingly faux-jaunty arrangement you can imagine being the theme of a show about cute teenagers getting into murder as a hobby. Elsewhere, this record is mainly a collection of piano-and-string balladry that sometimes approaches decency without ever consistently living in it. “Long Year” and “Waiting To Breathe” are both good songs: well-arranged, emotionally effective, mostly free of lyrical cliche. Everything else teeters on the absurd.